Last Sunday morning Mrs. Donald Huck and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Emanuel Huck of Coldwater received telegrams from the Navy Department stating that Mr. Huck had been killed at Augusta, Sicily, in an accident on October 24, the result of injuries incurred while hoisting a boat. Donald was a crew member of the U. S. S. Aucilla (AO-56), an auxilliary oiler.
On Tuesday, October 27, Mrs. Donald Huck received a telegram stating that Mr. Huck's body would be sent to Coldwater by the first available government transportation. Mrs. Huck states that the body will be brought by train, with military escort, from seaport to this city for burial.
According to letters which Mrs. Huck had received from her husband last Saturday and Sunday, his ship was on its way to Sicily to unload aviation gasoline and that, in docking at one point, the propeller had been damaged; also that after unloading, they planned to go to Malta Island, about 100 miles from Naples, Italy, for ship repairs.
Donald Keith Huck, son of Emanuel and Edith Huck, was born at Coldwater, Kans., August 2, 1932, and died in the service of his country at Augusta, Sicily, October 24, 1953, at the age of 21 years, 2 months and 22 days.
He attended the Glendale rural schools and the Coldwater high school, graduating with the Class of 1950. He was a fine athlete, making outstanding records in football and track, and was prominent in his F. F. A. work.
He attended Ottawa University one semester in 1950 and was a member of the college football team as a Freshman.
On November 20, 1950, Donald was united in marriage in the Antioch Methodist church with Miss Eva Mae Wolf, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Wolf of southeastern Comanche county. To this union was born one daughter, Rita Jill, age 10 months, and another child is expected in about two months.
The couple lived on a farm near Ottawa for six months, or until the flood of 1951, then Mr. Huck was employed at the Hercules Powder Plant at Desoto, Kans., until he enlisted in the Navy on July 21, 1952. He took his boot training at the San Diego, Calif., Naval Training Center and was then sent to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center to attend a machinists mate school.
On completing the course, Donald was sent to Norfolk, Va., where, in February, 1953, he was assigned to the Aucilla, which left the States last June for a cruise to South America, returning to Norfolk in July. On September 8, 1953, Donald left on a cruise to European and Mediterranean waters. He had the rating of machinists mate fireman and was in charge of the liberty boat, or motor launch, as he called it, of his ship, and he had an excellent record of service.
He is survived by his wife and daughter, Rita Jill; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Emanuel Huck; three sisters, Luane Lee, 16; Laren Rosann, 10; and Terry Sue, 6; besides many other relatives and a host of friends.
The sorrowing relatives have the heartfelt sympathy of all as the entire community shares the sorrow occasioned by the untimely death of one of our fine young men.
The body of Donald K. Huck, who was killed in an accident aboard his ship, the U.S.S. Aucilla, at Augusta, Sicily, on October 24, arrived in Coldwater Tuesday morning by train, accompanied by RM3 Eugene L. Murphy for the U. S. Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md. The body was met by an escort of ex-service men, members of the Coldwater American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts.
Funeral services were held in the Methodist church in this city and were in charge of Rev. Bill Dial of Manter, Kans., a former pastor of the Antioch Methodist in this county.
Raymond and Martha Cline sang "Beyond the Sunset" and "Crossing the Bar," accompanied by Mrs. Pansy McMillen, organist.
The pallbearers were Delmar Huck, Vaughn Huck, Russell Harness, Richard King, Frank Scholls and Bob Metzker.
The military services at the grave were in charge of Comanche Post 122, the American Legion, and the Wm. H. Finney Post No. 7640, V.F.W. Following the salute to the dead by the firing squad, Jerry Smith sounded Taps.
Excerpts from a letter received by Mrs. Donald Huck and written by Jacob A. Lark, Commanding Officer, of the U.S.S. Aucilla (AO-56):
"On Saturday the 24th of October the ship was anchored in Augusta Bay, Sicily. Your husband was a member of a boat crew and his boat was being hoisted on board the ship. While hoisting the boat one of the ropes broke and the boat tilted to one side. Your husband was caught around the chest between the high side of the boat and the wire that was being used in hoisting the boat.
"Immediately after the accident your husband was given the best of medical service. He had sustained severe internal chest injuries and no medical assistance could have helped him. The accident occurred at seven o'clock in the morning and he passed away at 10:48 a.m. Except for a brief period immediately following the accident he was unconscious until his death, and he experienced no suffering.
"I know that there is nothing that I can say that will help you and your child in your great loss. The only comfort I can offer is to ask you to keep in mind that your husband gave his life in a most honorable manner. His service to his country is the highest calling possible and I want you and your family to know that this was done extremely well and is greatly appreciated by the navy.
"As you know, your husband had been aboard this ship for ten months. During that time he performed all his duties in a most highly satisfactory manner. His service record shows that his previous naval service was performed in the same way. Your husband had many close friends on this ship. I am certain that his pleasing ways made him many friends wherever he was in the past. I personally, as well as everyone else on board the ship, will miss your husband. Our hearts are full of sympathy for you and his family. We have lost a good friend and shipmate, and we deeply feel your loss of your husband.
"The Commanding Officer of the Augusta Naval Base, an Italian base, has asked me to express his deepest sympathy to you on behalf of himself and of all personnel attached to the base. As a mark of respect to your husband, the Italian flags were flown at half mast on the day of your husbands death. The Commanding Officer of the base made available all the facilities at his disposal to assist us in caring for your husband.
"Please accept my deepest sympathy, Mrs. Huck, as well as that of the entire crew of this ship. We cannot convey in a letter our thoughts and our feelings as well as as we would like. We do want you to know that our hearts are sad and that we sincerely hope that you may derive some small comfort to know that we will always remember your husband as the finest kind of an American who made the supreme sacrifice in the service of his country."
Donald Keith Huck, son of Emanuel and Edith Huck, was born at Coldwater, Kansas, August 2, 1932, and died in the service of his county at Augusta, Sicily, October 24, 1953, at the age of 21 years, 2 months and 22 days.
He attended the Glendale rural school and the Coldwater high school, graduating with the Class of 1950. He was a fine athlete, making outstanding records in football and track and was prominent in his F.F.A. work.
He attended Ottawa University one semester in 1950 and was a member of the College football team as a Freshman.
On November 20, 1950, Donald was united in marriage in the Antioch Methodist church with Miss Eva Mae Wolf, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Wolf of southeastern Comanche county. To this union was born one daughter, Rita Jill, age 10 months.
He attended the Ottawa Nazarene church, where he was converted in April, 1952.
The couple lived on a farm near Ottawa where Donald was employed for six months. After the flood in 1951 he began working at the Sunflower Ordinance Works near Desoto, Kans., where he was employed until he enlisted in the navy on July 21, 1952. He took his boot training at the San Diego, Calif., Naval Training Center and from there was sent to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center to attend a machinists mate school.
On completing the course in February, 1963, Donald was assigned to the U.S.S. Aucilla, which was in dock in Norfolk, Va. The ship left the States last June for a cruise to South America, returning to Norfolk in July. On September 8, 1953, the ship left on a cruise to the Mediterranean Sea. Donald had the rating of machinists mate fireman and was a member of the small boat crew on his ship. His commanding officer said of Don he would always be remembered as the finest kind of an American who made the supreme sacrifice while in the service of his country.
He was a devoted husband, father and son and is survived by his wife and daughter, Rita Jill; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Emanuel Huck, three sisters, Luane Lee, Karen Rosann, and Terry Sue, besides many other relatives, his shipmates and a host of friends.
Western Star, May 23, 1947.
Coldwater Has Two State Champs
Earl Kopke First in Hurdles and Allen Hoffman First in Javelin
Six members of the Coldwater track team and Donald Huck, a Freshman, went to Manhattan the middle of last week to enter the state track meet which was held on Friday and Saturday.
Earl Kopke, son of Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Kopke, placed first in the high hurdles and won a state championship medal.
Allen Hoffman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Hoffman, placed first in the javelin throw and likewise received a state championship medal.
Roy Purcell, son of Mrs. Geneva Purcell, placed fourth in pole vault, Edwin Carlton, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Carlton, placed seventh in the mile run and Allen Hoffman was fourth in shot put.
With no relay team the Coldwater six boys placed fourth in the state in the Class B meet.
The Buttermilk, Kansas, Softball Team, circa 1950. Photo from the collection of Delmar Huck, courtesy of Bobbi (Hackney) Huck. Donald Huck is in the photograph.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news articles to this web site!
This RootsWeb website is being created by HTML Guy Jerry Ferrin with the able assistance of many Contributors. Your comments, suggestions and contributions of historical information and photographs to this site are welcome. Please sign the Guest Book. This page was last updated 19 August 2006.